In light of continued restrictions surrounding mass gatherings, combined with the unprecedented impact on all of us from Covid-19, the Grounds Management Association's (GMA) Board of Directors has taken the unanimous decision to move SALTEX to early Spring 2021. This outcome has been guided by discussions with key industry bodies, as well as exhibitors.
Like everyone else, the GMA has continued to follow Government guidance, and the science involved, to guide its business during this unprecedented time. Despite early optimism, a decision has been made to move the exhibition to March 2021 - taking into account the best interests of all parties involved.
By acting now, it gives the sector an opportunity to re-group and recover ahead of the next trade show. SALTEX will be now held on 3 and 4 March 2021, and the GMA is also realigning the following year so that SALTEX runs in Spring 2022.
The GMA's decision is based on ensuring the safety of everyone connected with such an event. The association believes this is the most responsible course of action - given current circumstances.
Speaking about the announcement David Carpenter, Independent Chair of the GMA stated: "We would like to reassure our community that personal wellbeing remains our top priority. It is a case of mixed concerns at the moment, but I am hugely optimistic because I believe that the rescheduling of SALTEX in November 2020 will result in a much stronger show in Spring 2021. The new date will enable even more people to visit and celebrate the innovation, technology and the passion that the grounds industry represents - including excellent networking opportunities, as well as focussing on new business needs."
Geoff Webb, CEO at the GMA said: "This has been a difficult decision to make, and I hope all our exhibitors join forces with us to mark a return to more ordinary working conditions in the not too distant future. Professional and personal lives have been placed on hold, and that in turn will have a knock-on effect. We want to help ease that load at the moment.
"We've seen the grounds community come together and adapt during this challenging period, and we hope that exhibitors help us host something beyond a trade show - a celebration of what our industry can overcome when working together."
The GMA also believes that holding the 75th SALTEX on 3 and 4 March 2021 will help all companies get the respite required to readjust to changing professional and personal circumstances. The organisation understands the impact of Covid-19 for many businesses and individuals within the grounds management industry.
Geoff Webb continues: "Next year, the event will provide a huge opportunity for our sector to regroup, reunite and celebrate. After this difficult period, the show will help to rekindle the economic activity of the industry. Until then, all our thoughts and support are with those facing the challenges posed by the spread of Coronavirus."
GMA is pleased to be able to honour all existing bookings and has also secured the same halls at the NEC to minimise disruption for exhibitors. It is also in the process of contacting exhibitors with new payment terms, with later dates, and it is also working with companies that may require further assistance during this challenging period.
The GMA and its SALTEX partners are working closely together to assist businesses with the transition. The GMA can be contacted for further support via SALTEX@thegma.org.uk